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Huayi Bros. Picks Up Jessica Chastain’s ‘355’ for China

Huayi Bros. has secured Greater China rights to “355,” the spy thriller from Jessica Chastain’s Freckle Films that is one of the buzziest new projects on the market in Cannes.

The deal is believed to be worth about $20 million, close to the amount Universal is shelling out for North American rights. Huayi is set as a co-financier.

Simon Kinberg is set to direct the film from a script by Theresa Rebeck, based on an original idea by Chastain. The film is being pitched at the Cannes Film Festival by FilmNation Entertainment and CAA Media Finance Group. Universal picked up the U.S. rights Saturday. CAA is spearheading the sale of Chinese rights.

Unsuccessful bidders for Chinese distribution are believed to have included Bona Film Group, Wanda, China’s streaming groups and a host of smaller newcomers.

The film’s high-concept action genre would appear to give it significant appeal in the Middle Kingdom. So, too, does the casting of China’s leading female star, Fan Bingbing, in a significant role.

The film sees five female operatives banding together to stop a global organization from acquiring a weapon that could plunge the world into chaos. The cast announced so far includes Chastain, Fan, Lupita Nyong’o, Marion Cotillard and Penelope Cruz. Producers are Chastain and Kelly Carmichael through Freckle Films, along with Kinberg under his Kinberg Genre banner.

The news of Huayi Bros.’ pickup was first reported by Deadline.

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